Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2 Nephi 25:19 - Messiah...his name shall be Jesus Christ

19 For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Messiah. The verse above makes it obvious that Christ is the Messiah, but few details are given otherwise. The footnote for 19a leads to "Jesus Christ, Betrayal of" in the Topical Guide, as well as "Jesus Christ, Birth of" (2 Ne 25:19). That would lead one to believe that the name "Messiah" was given to Him because of His birth and His death. Given that this chapter is specifically directed at practicing Jews, and Jews were looking for a warrior in their Savior, it it interesting that the term Messiah focuses on the two points in His life at which Christ was probably at His most vulnerable; when He was a baby, and when He was on the cross. Yet these two moments of vulnerability and humility were perhaps the most powerful of His entire life. They were both miraculous, and it was because of both times that man will once again be able to live with his Father in Heaven.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hebrews 13:8 The same today, tomorrow, and forever...

Marriage is honorable - Christ is the Same everlastingly.
4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. 

Notice how the heading makes note of verse four; "Marriage is honorable" (Hebrews 13). In relation to Christ, this verse is all about His everlasting-ness. He is eternal, "the same today, tomorrow, and forever." Just as the Savior and His Atonement last forever, so too does the ordinance of marriage. Jesus' binds to us through His Atonement will never fade or disappear. He will always be there, and He will always rescue us from our sins. The binds of marriage are also always there. Husband and wife will always be one; they will always be expected to love, nurture, build, and care for one another. In fact,, in some sense, the ways which Christ builds each of us is emulated in the marriage relationship.

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
 The word "same" leads one to "God, Eternal Nature of," in the Topical Guide. The very first scripture listed is Deuteronomy chapter 33 verse 27, which reads, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms..." (Deut. 33:27). "The eternal God is thy refuge." What a remarkable statement. He is eternal. He is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). He loves us, blesses us, and desires to provide us with more than we can ever begin to comprehend. He expects a lot of us, but not more than we can handle. He prepared a way for Nephi; for Moses and for Joseph in Egypt, for Moroni and Ester and so many countless others, and because we know He doesn't change, we know He's prepared a way for us too.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hebrews 12:2 - The author and finisher of our faith

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

"Run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). Hebrews Chapter 12 begins. Run "looking unto Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2). He created all that we have, and all that we see; even our faith.

5 Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and sourgeth every son whom he receiveth

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hebrews 4:14 - Great high priest...Jesus the Son of God

8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 

What an interesting passage. Early on in Chapter 4, it's discussed that the Gospel was offered to the early Israelites, but that they did not have the faith necessary to know it was true. The discussion then turns to the topic of rest; the Israelites expected that their Savior would rescue them from their struggles and labors, and would squash their enemies. Christ was the exact opposite of what they had hoped for. The Savior preached love and peace. He came to the earth in the humblest of ways, and never once acted as though He were a king. He then willingly gave Himself up in order to fulfill His Atonement and die for our sins. The Atonement is a two-way contract, however. We have to be willing to put in the work in order for it to work. We must exercise the necessary faith in Him so that we can repent and find joy in this world. We should not, as the Israelites did, expect to be rescued from our labors, but rather, we should endure to the end, overcoming our labors with the help of Jesus Christ.

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Picking up where the last paragraph left off: No one should expect life to be easy because of the Atonement. With that said, the Atonement does make it bearable. We must "hold fast our profession," and our faith, and labor for and with Christ so that we can return to our Heavenly Father someday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hebrews 2:9 - Made a little lower than the angels...

9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
What could the phrase, "made a little lower than the angels," possibly mean, and how could Christ, the Savior of the world, the King of Kings, even the Son of God be made lower than anyone? He created the Heavens and the Earth. He is the Master; every soul to ever walk the earth owes Him everything, yet He asks for nothing. 

Reference A leads to "Jesus Christ, Condescension of," in the Topical Guide. There, the first scripture referenced is Psalm 113:6, which reads, "Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth!" (Psalm 113:6). Isaiah 50:6 is also listed, a verse where the Savior says to Isaiah, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting" (Isaiah 50:6). Given these two scriptures, the word "lower" is referring to Jesus' humility. He came to the earth as the Son of God to experience life and all of its temptations as a mortal. He was used, abused, ridiculed, mocked, and tortured, yet he condemned no one, instead asking his Father to forgive all.

Perhaps the word "lower" also refers to the fact that the Savior "came down from heaven, not to do [his] own will, but the will of him that sent [him]" (John 6:38). In lowering Himself, Christ not only subjected himself to the cruelties of man, He subjected Himself to the will of our Heavenly Father. Christ's Atonement was apart of Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness from the very beginning. Jesus knew His purpose, and despite having the ability to call it off, he opted instead to suffer for our sins, so that we might have agency. He "lowered" himself and his position before the Father so that we might learn and grow. 

Ultimately, perhaps the best way to understand the word lower comes from the reference B, found by the word "angels." There one will find Philippians 2:7-8. The scripture explains that the Savior came to earth with out great pomp and circumstance. Born in a manger to a carpenter and his fiance, Christ came in one of the humblest of ways. His purpose? As mentioned above, it is to serve each of us, sacrificing himself so that we might live. Imagine that;"And being found in a fashion s a man," verse 8 reads, "he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8). Christ loves each of us so profoundly, He was willing to forego His pleasure for our salvation. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

2 Tim 2:8 - Comfort & Joy

3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ
7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seek of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel
11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him

2 Timothy 2 is a chapter of comfort. Endure as a soldier of Christ, the Lord gives understanding, if we die with him, we will live in him. We have nothing to fear as long as our faith is in Christ and in Heavenly Father. As long as we seek him we will be alright.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Philip 2:11 Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

  • If the whole world were like Rexburg, ID, I have a feeling it would be described in a manner similar to the scripture above.

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings;
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world

  • Specifically, verse 14 is talking about doing the Lord's will without murmurings and disputings. Disputations are of the adversary; when rebuke, anger or frustration begin to fill the mind and heart, there is no room for the Holy Ghost. 
  • In addition to disputations with others, it is equally important that there are no disputations within ourselves. We should not doubt truth, and we should argue back and forth with ourselves over what is right vs wrong. We need to trust in the Lord and follow the Spirit. 
  • When we agree with our adversary and put aside petty differences, there is a difference in our countenance and spirit. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Philip 2:10 - Every knee should bow

2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

The church must be "of one mind." Every member must think and pray and work things out in their mind in an effort to understand Heavenly Father's will. When members do this, they are more likely to appreciate and understand that A) this is Christ's church restored to the earth, and B) that Heavenly Father and the Savior are always consistent with the commandments given to His children.

10 That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth.

"Every knee should bow." What better way to be "of one mind" than for every knee to bow?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Eph 2:20 - The Chief Corner Stone

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

The Savior's Atonement raised each and everyone of us "up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." What does it mean to sit in heavenly places together? If no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God, and God is in heaven, and through Christ's grace, we were raised to a heavenly standard which we are expected to maintain, it means that Heavenly Father expects us to live as though we were in a heavenly place. We are to make life on this earth as heavenly as possible, for all of His children. We were lifted together; He wants us to truly love all men.

20 And are built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone

Christ is the cornerstone upon which we can build a testimony of all aspects of the gospel; prophets, apostles, tithing, prayer, etc. Without Him and His sacrifice, none of those things would matter. The church, its organization, and all things which we do collapse without the Savior and His grace.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

1 Cor. 12:3 - "but by the Holy Ghost..."

3 Wherefore I give unto you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Testimony and knowledge comes from the Spirit. By no other means can anyone know that Christ is the Savior of all mankind.

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Why are we all given different gifts and talents and abilities? Why not just provide everyone the same gift? We must rely on one another. Through reliance comes empathy, love, and understanding; when we need each other in order to understand the Lord's will or whatever situation we may be in, we gain a greater ability to learn Christ-like love.

Furthermore, when we are baptized, we join Christ's church. We become a member of His organization; what better way to understand that this is His work than by forcing all members to work together to love and lift and save?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Corinthians 2:2 - I determined to know Jesus Christ

2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit of power
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

It is so difficult to let go. Life is always changing; things never stay the same for very long. Yet so often, it is much easier to cling to the way things were rather than look forward to the way things could be. Why is that? Why is it so difficult to put trust and faith in the Lord? Why is it so much easier to put our faith in the "wisdom of men?"

Having faith means trusting in the Lord's plan for us. It means allowing the Lord to work the miracles in our life that He knows we need. It means doing all in our power to align our wills with His will, regardless of whether His will includes our desires. It's not an easy thing to master, but hey, practice makes perfect, right?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Romans 6:3 - Baptism into Jesus Christ

3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.
6 ...our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed...
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin

Baptism is often compared to the resurrection, made possible by the Savior's Atonement. When one is submerged under the water, they have experienced "death." Rising out of the water, they are "resurrected." Finally the conferring of the Gift of the Holy Ghost is similar to dwelling in Heavenly Father's presence at all times and in all places.

Romans Chapter 6, however, explains baptism in a much more literal way. It states that in agreeing to be baptized, we take upon ourselves Christ's name. In doing so, we also take upon ourselves his death, as well as his resurrection. Baptism, in other words, enables us to draw nearer to Christ.